What is interesting to note about Communism is that it needed capitalism to rear its ugly head. Throughout human history, people were deemed to be born into various classes. A man, a family, a group of people inhabited higher or lower places in society depending in many ways upon vague, and sometimes not-so-vague, ideas of destiny or God-given rights. The King’s subjects might begrudge the King, but generally did not see themselves as worthy of holding the same place in society.
British capitalism and world trade changed the way people viewed their economic condition. Certain people demonstrated greater acumen in the grubby dealings of business. Pure uncanny intelligence in the ways of trade and business dealings were naturally intertwined with corruption, inside deals, back scratching, nepotism and all the other ways that money makes men ugly.
Naturally, large segments of the great unwashed found themselves left out of these insider works. The first vestiges of class warfare replaced class distinction. It stood to reason that certain street lawyers would tell the mob that they were being exploited. The masses eventually found eloquent voice. Professor Dalton makes the point of demonstrating who the major thinkers of history are, and who their protégés and students were, as well as identifying who broke from their chidings to make new proposals. Thus, we have pointed out the progression of Socrates to Plato to Aristotle, but also shown how different Machiavelli was. At the same time, certain similarities are often found among disparate personalities.
In attempting to identify the origins of Communism, the name Karl Marx of course comes first. But Marx was greatly influenced by the writings of French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. I have also made some observations that apply to Socrates and Plato (but not to Aristotle) that, in my view, show that the first two Greek theorists made some statements that give encouragement to later socialists.
This chapter concentrates on Rousseau and Marx. Rousseau was an idealist, and unlike Marx, history accords romanticism to his work. Professor Dalton agrees that he had much in common with Plato. The common thread between all three was a benign view of human nature, in direct contradiction with Machiavelli. Where Machiavelli thrived on competition and one-upmanship, Rousseau finds wrong in this.
Private property, which Aristotle agreed was the anchor of the middle class, was the bane of society in Rousseau’s view. Rousseau and Plato were critical of the societies they lived in, and saw education as the answer to the problems. Ethics were at the heart of their view of reform, and they thought private property bred avarice and inequality.
Rousseau said that history was built on man’s instincts to survive against suffering. The dark side of human action is a reaction to that suffering, but in a world where suffering is alleviated, people are at their heart good. He said this innate goodness is what keeps men from harming others even more than they already do.
Even in his day, Rousseau railed against a society corrupted by “progress” in the form of urbanization that put too many living too close to others in cities, therefore losing their sense of community and humanity.
Professor Dalton brings up a modern case that he says accentuates what Rousseau was talking about. That was the1964 Kitty Genovese murder, in which her neighbors failed to rescue her from her attacker even though she was being raped and eventually killed right under their windows while they stood by and did nothing. Another case made the news just a few weeks prior to my writing this. A man was murdered at a gas station in Maryland while an on-looker stood by and watched. The video camera shows the on-looker not only did nothing, failed to come to the man’s aid, or reported the crime to the store or called 911, but continued to pump gas while the man lay dying a few feet away.
Rousseau had little good to say about the educational system in France, and decried economic rivalry. All of his visions for a better society are outlined in his classic book, “The Social Contract”. In this book he attempted to alleviate the fear that men have of each other by emphasizing the inter-dependence of humanity, and that justice must replace instinct. Equality can be attained through legislation, particularly as it pertains to the education of young people, and that real freedom is not license. Freedom, he says, carries a responsibility, which is to attain a “oneness with others.”
This last admonition carries some strong political baggage. Nobody argues the value of people working with each other to build a better world, but the association of “loners” with alienation is one that many disagree with.
In the U.S. more than any other country, the freedom of individuals to pursue their own course is not only allowed but also romanticized. This is the story of the American West, the cowboys and the settlers. John Ford and Duke Wayne were not, uh, of the Rousseau mindset, thank you.
In the military, fighter pilots are an elite corps. Studies have shown that a majority of them are only children, “rugged individualists” who march to the tune of a different drummer, and in the movies they are depicted as “Mavericks.”
Some of our greatest literature strives to give face to lonely people who society says is “different” because they choose to be alone. The Boo Radley character in “To Kill A Mockingbird” is just one example of someone who is demonized as an “other,” only to be accorded sweet qualities once he is revealed. Such tales fly in the face of the Rousseau theory.
Nowadays, being alone and white is almost tantamount to being a crime. Randy Weaver was a separatist in Idaho, but the media called him a “white separatist” to put an edge on him.
In Waco, Texas, the Federal authorities surrounded the Branch Davidians because they possessed a cache of weapons, but if they had just “cooperated” and not tried to distance themselves from the community, they would never have been attacked. To be “understood” is something the authorities apparently are much more interested in than those who are misunderstood. The racial dynamic turns around in the world of sports. Baseball superstar Barry Bonds chooses not to divulge much of himself to a mostly-white media that takes umbrage with his distant attitude. The unspoken feeling is that because he is black, he is “uppity,” and even though his performance is exemplary and his personal life as clean as can be, he is vilified as an “arrogant jerk.”
What many do not realize is how different Democracy is from “majority will.” Plato disparaged the “general will” of the Assembly, calling them a mob. The Roman elite felt the same way about the masses, perhaps more so because the outrageous mob mentality of the crowds who watched gladiators kill each other demonstrated the worst kind of human behavior.
The Founding Fathers warned of the “tyranny of the majority,” and the criminal jury system is devised in such a way that a majority of 11-1 is not enough to convict; a unanimous decision is necessary. Much of this thinking emanates from Rousseau, who said that not all majority decisions are in accordance with general will. The “transcendent” spirit of public goodwill is something Rousseau talked about, as did Plato. The American Founders just came right out and called it God, and to be more specific, Christ.
Rousseau lived from 1712-1778, passing 11 years prior to the French Revolution that bore, at first, many of his grievances but certainly did not end up being what he envisioned. His life in France during a time of crisis and inequality permeated his ideas. He was born into poverty in Geneva, and his family was dysfunctional. He became a wanderer, settling in Paris where he lived from 1741 to 1762. He published “Discourse on the Sciences and Arts” in 1750, “On the Origin of Inequality” in 1775, “Emile”, his education thesis in 1762, and that same year “The Social Contract”. “Considerations on the Government of Poland” reflect his wider view of international politics in 1772. In all his works he is viewed as an “outsider,” which is ironic considering he advocated a “brotherhood” approach to social problems.
The Calvinists were very influential in the France of the 17th and 18th Centuries. They were very strict moralists who believed in a sense of pre-destiny. Rousseau was shaped by this concept, along with the scientific discoveries of the era, but not in the same way as other theorists such as Locke and Hobbes. Rousseau in fact denounced the Enlightenment ideas of science and rationalism, relating them to the urban, inhumane world he tried to advocate against. He viewed much of these ideas as heartless and devoid of compassion. Whereas Locke had welcomed the Royal Society of London, which was devoted to the sciences and was founded in 1662, and later the Academy of Sciences in France (1666), Rousseau opposed the French Encyclopedists in Paris (1751-1768). Rationalists like Diderot and Voltaire, whose works greatly inspired the French Revolution one year after he died, were opposed by Rousseau.
Rousseau conceived of “the constitution of natural man” being evolutionary. “Prior to reason” man felt the need for self-preservation, for compassion, and the natural compassion of man was where all our good qualities flowed from. This compassion, he said, would be the basis for a citizenry dominated by “moral liberty” and “legitimate equality.” His concept of moral liberty echoes the Greeks, who said happiness came from noble purpose, not acquiring power or money.
Rousseau thought too many “philosophers” were cold and heartless, either ignoring the plight of man, or treating man’s problems as abstract. Today, such people would be said to be living in an “ivory tower.” Instead of viewing individual property ownership as being part of an intertwined investment in the community, Rousseau saw it as “private interests,” “private wills” and “different interest.” These private interests are, in his view, the roots of cultural alienation.
The social contract of Rousseau’s view is a civil state that leads to the implementation of the general will. Rousseau enjoyed creating a kind of “Pro vs. Con” lexicon of phraseology: “Justice vs. Instinct”; “Duty vs. “Impulse”; "Law vs. “Appetite”; “Reason vs. Inclinations.”
He envisioned a change from “a stupid, limited animal” to “an intelligent being.” Nature, he said, is to be replaced by morality. Of course, there are caveats to Rousseau’s utopianism. The ideal civil state of his theory is limited to about 10,000 people. In other words, Rousseau describes a small town in America in which the values he espouses roughly make up the reality of his vision. Petaluma, California. Molalla, Oregon. Smalltown, U.S.A.
What answers Rousseau are teeming cities filled with illegal aliens who have crossed the border to live there because there is no work in their native countries? Or refugees from political despots, wars and famines, who have no place else to go? When a town reaches 10,000, does he propose a law that turns future residents away?
Professor Dalton compares and contrasts the political theory of the realists, the idealists and the reformers. Everybody, he says, wants security through a strong political system. Civil and international warfare is something to be avoided at the highest cost. The difference is that realists believe attaining security is paramount, and any idealistic vision of civil rights that threatens security is dangerous. If vice is the vehicle towards security, then so be it, according to Machiavelli’s advice for “The Prince”.
“Machiavelli consciously lowers the standards of social action,” wrote Leo Strauss in “History of Political Philosophy”.
The Aristotelian argument is for diversity in occupation and education. He said power should be in the hands of a few, but distributed because of the “natural equality of all citizens.” When Bill Clinton said, “I feel your pain,” he might have been echoing a Platonic metaphor:
“When one of us hurts his finger, the whole extent of those bodily connections which are gathered up in the soul and unified by its ruling element is made aware and it all shares as a whole in the pain of the suffering part; hence we say that the man has a pain in his finger,” wrote Plato.
What Plato advocated was creating a polity in which people no longer fear that events will turn others against them; rather, that their pain and their troubles will be absorbed by an empathetic public.
Plato saw his ideas as having an effect on the government, and no doubt it has. But I see his admonitions embodied in the free press. The free press in a Democratic society provides differing viewpoints and investigative reporting. This is very important. Human-interest stories and in-depth tales of the plight of citizens create awareness and empathy.
Rousseau’s “organic polis” is one in which the multitudes are united, so the harming of one constitutes the harming of the whole. Many have used this concept. NATO says an attack on one of their countries is an attack on all of them. China calls itself the People’s Republic of China. Communism says an enemy of the state is an enemy of the "people." In our jury system, prosecutors use terms like “the people rest,” and cases are titled “The People of the State of …” vs. the defendant.
There is an intimidation factor to the Rousseau/Plato political structure, and Rousseau offers some language that may have been benign at the time, but we know that it was misused disastrously by later regimes.
The legislator should “change human nature; to transform each individual…into part of the greater whole, from which this individual receives in a sense, his life and his being; to alter man’s constitution in order to strengthen it to substitute a moral and social existence for the independent and physical existence which we have all received from nature,” he wrote.
This is all very good, but one wonders what Rousseau would have thought about those Nazi soldiers goose stepping in lockstep in order to “strengthen” their society (not to mention the city he lived in). The nature of man is not only to be free to conform, but free to not conform. The charisma of actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean was based on their “rebel” attitudes. On the schlocky Fox reality show “Joe Millionaire”, the girl picked by “Joe” said what she liked most about him was that, despite his “wealth” (before she discovered he was not rich), he “marched to the tune of a different drummer, which attracted me to him.”
Even among the social class, this kind of rebel mentality is valued. There is nothing sexy about the Red Guards. Fidel Castro is far less appealing in the romantic mind than Che Guevara, the handsome “revolutionary” he sent to Latin America to foment rebellion from the norm.
Before we get to Che, however, we have to pass through Karl Marx. Surely Marx would have been appalled at what happened to his vision. Would he have felt a responsibility for the millions and millions of dead bodies that litter his altar? His name has been vilified, his hoary image despised, his legend trampled on by history. But sitting in his tiny London flat, weighed down by grinding poverty, his beloved daughter dying because he could not afford proper medical care, Marx sought only social justice. It is just and proper to argue that he and Rousseau were wrong. It is not valid to blame them for the ultimate tragedy of Communism. He never would have advocated the gulags, the round-ups and the re-education camps. Not the way they eventually occurred.
Marx was born into the middle class in Germany, but when he became involved in Leftist politics he was exiled to Paris in 1843. After five years he wore out his welcome, and in the year of the European revolutions, 1848, he was exiled to London. He lived there until his passing in 1883. Many have said of Communism that the concept was a good one, but since it so obviously was not, one has to hold Marx and Rousseau to a higher standard, in my view. Marx should have been more specific or prescient about human nature. He lived in Dickensian England, a place where many social inequities existed. Nevertheless, it was a place where Marx was fully exposed to Democracy at a time when Benjamin Disraeli was the Prime Minster who orchestrated a power shift from monarchy to parliament. Marx was not closeted in a place where his ideas were the only solution. Could he not see the changes in England? Disraeli, like Marx, was Jewish. Queen Victoria said he was her “favorite Prime Minister.” In the United States, the “experiment” had flourished beautifully. Marx was only 47 when the Civil War ended and the slaves were freed. Despite these lessons, he doggedly held to theories he developed in post-Napoleonic times. He lived in a Germany broken up by feudal states, then in a discombobulated France that had seen one revolution feed more scattered revolutions. Then he lived in the London of Ebeneezer Scrooge’s time. But he saw change. He saw that the problems he addressed were slowly being addressed.
The problem with Marx is that change did not occur fast enough. Therefore, he envisioned great revolutionary change, massive upheaval that could not occur without uprooting everything around it. Did Marx not understand how much the upper classes would fight to retain what they had, and what kind of excesses the lower classes would resort to once they gained the upper hand? Had he not studied the French Revolution? Did the days of guillotined terror not offer lessons to him?
Marx understood that man’s first natural instincts were for work, food and sex. He echoes Rousseau in his view of the next stage of social evolution as being about the alienated self in an alienated society. He saw corruption all around him, especially economic corruption. The culprit? Private property and capitalism. He said these tenets perverted human values, exploited women, and encouraged domination. The next stage is classless Communism.
Why Marx thought Communism was coming was because in capitalism he saw contradictions. Greed and avarice would expose society, therefore creating a populace that demanded equality and true justice, i.e., Communism.
So where is Marx wrong? He is wrong because he fails to see the truths that are exposed by a free society and a free press. What if Germany and France had never exiled him? He viewed the upper classes as repressive organizations, silencing him and his kind. He went to England and wrote, and his voice was allowed to be heard. Although he was not popular, he was not silenced. Marx never envisioned investigative reporting with a social consciousness. Marx never envisioned corporations that felt the need to contribute to society, and to even profit from it? Technological advancements that would not only help millions, but provide goods and services that made life freer, and improved the environment, too.
In large factories, Marx saw only low-paid workers and high-paid bosses. Did he not consider the public that needed the products being made? Did he not see in education the kind of consciousness-raising principles that he advocated? Was it always “greed and avarice,” or could Marx respect ambition and accomplishment?
Regarding work, Marx thought that under capitalism, men are not fulfilled by their work, which they perform out of “compulsion.” That is, they must do it or starve. Jim Morrison of The Doors called it “trading your hours for a handful of dimes.” Marx was thinking about factory work, which was unsafe and debilitating. Low wage workers in Third World countries today perform much of this kind of work. There is a conundrum to the Marxist view of work, and it exists today. Hollywood celebrities and “gotcha” journalists are always “exposing” some corporation that has a plant in Mexico, or Guatemala, or some other Latin American country. These plants employ thousands of people who work for far less than the U.S. minimum wage. These people are viewed as being exploited. In reality, they make more money and provide for their families better than a majority of their fellow citizenry. The people who do not work in these factories are not doing so because they do not want to, but because all the jobs are filled as soon as they become available.
The future Marx did not foresee was entrepreneurial capitalism, the savior of Democracy perhaps. The Marxist philosophy is wrong for the same reason that old time affirmative action quotas were considered wrong. People improve. Men desire to reach for something beyond themselves. What free societies have provided is an outlet for any man with enough gumption to make better for their families. Marx seemed to envision soot-covered men who toil at their jobs with no dreams or aspirations. This failed vision helps explain why unions have drastically lost membership.
Unions were strong because men who worked for the companies had no greater goals than to just toil at their jobs in safety with reasonable promotions and cost-of-living adjustments, plus health care and a pension. They weakened because they failed to address the notion of men who wanted to become the boss. They aspired to be in management, and the more ambitious among them learned their jobs and the jobs of everybody else. They educated themselves, and made themselves indispensable to the companies they worked for, instead of being adversaries. Eventually, when a man became good enough at what he did, he could go out on his own, start his own small business, or work for another competing firm that valued his experience and good efforts.
Of course, this sounds like an easy vision for a 21st Century white man, raised in affluence, who writes these words sitting in a three-quarter of a million dollar hilltop California home. Granted. Of course there was grinding poverty. Many, many workers had no hope of ever starting a company. They were ignorant and uneducated, and hoped only for enough to survive. But Marx was unwilling or unable to ask himself the hard questions. That would have forced him to address whether my vision of workers rising above themselves, Horatio Alger-style, was untenable. His alternative is a bleak one, some kind of place that meets basic worker needs without empowering them. The Horatio Alger model occurred in the United States. Marx gave it scant attention. He blinded himself to it. Why? Everybody has their own demons, their own personal animus’s. Marx seems to me to have been less interested in bringing the workers up than he is in bringing the employers down.
Marx said that under Communism, the free development of each would conduce to the free development of all. I have previously mentioned Socratic quotes I do not understand, and I freely admit when I do not understand something. I have no idea what Marx means by this.
Marx somehow thought that under Communism, the need for sex would be satisfied in love, and the need for work satisfied by meaningful labor. Marx might have had something about sex if what he envisioned were the “communes” of the 1960s. There was plenty of sex at Charlie Manson’s Spawn Ranch, Dr. Timothy Leary’s mansion in Duchess County, New York, and at the La Honda commune where Ken Kesey, Wavey Gravey and the other Merry Pranksters dropped acid.
But why is work supposed to have become more meaningful under this new system? That is, if the work was mindless and unfulfilling before, why would that change? Making widgets all day is boring and mind-numbing no matter what. Marx’s argument was that if everybody is “in it together,” that is, they all share in the profits of the widget sales equally, then the guy on the assembly line is of equal value to the foreman. However, can Marx truly know human behavior and think this “equitable” relationship would have a lasting effect? They are still just widgets, and to my mind making them is never going to rise to being exceptionally “meaningful labor” over a long period of time.
These kinds of jobs are to be handled by the young and the dumb. Education has progressed in the United States to the point where the young do not need to work these jobs, and there are not enough of the dumb to handle them. So they are farmed out to the Third World. When conditions improve to the point where nobody in the Third World needs to work these types of jobs, either, the technology will have taken over and people can move onto better work, while machines handle “widget making.” This is simplistic, yes; some might call it racist; others, the uncaring screeds of an out-of-touch white American. Okay, fine. But I think my vision explains work a lot better than Communism.
Marx thought society would evolve into a “species society,” in which humans would define themselves and realize their species. Under Marxism, this became re-education camps. In the U.S., we call them guidance counselors.
Professor Dalton points out that in actuality, Marx’s program was never implemented, since he never advocated totalitarian or despotic rule. Soviet Bloc and Red Chinese Communism were totalitarian from the beginning. Italian Communism was no better organized than any of their other political parties. The socialism of Sweden is so tailored to their small, highly educated, homogenous-white population, that nobody would call it Marxist.
The fact that real Marxism has technically never been implemented is why liberalism still exists. The discrepancy between Marx and V.I. Lenin gives the liberals an out, a way to distance themselves from Communism. The problem is that a pervasive thought continues to run rampant in the salons of Leftist thought. This thought is that the program was not bad, they just got it wrong the first time. If they got another chance they would learn from their "mistakes."
Marx’s social criticisms, however, are not completely invalidated. He is an enormous historical figure, a man of tremendous importance, and despite my pointed barbs, he is a man who meant well. Lenin and Joseph Stalin were men of ruthless ambition. If their intentions had been exposed they would have been imprisoned. Marx’s heart seems to have some "purity" within it.
Therefore, he is a tragic figure. Since he was Jewish (albeit not a practicing Jew), his legacy is even more tragic. Hitler hated Communism, in no small part because Jews dominated it. His actions came about in part because of Marx. What truly would have broken Marx’s heart would have been the way Jews were exterminated under Communism. The Jews were the first to be exterminated in the pogroms of farms during the Russian Revolution. Jews paid the heaviest price when Stalin activated his collectivist strategy in the 1930s. Again in the 1950s, Stalin murdered Jews, including, for some draconian reason, Jewish doctors. Jews were rounded up and killed throughout Soviet rule. History shows that it was not done as systematically as the Nazis. Jewish hate did not feed the Soviet propaganda campaigns like it did the Germans. But over a longer period of time, more Jews died under Communism than under Nazism. Of course, because they did have more time, the Communists murdered many more humans than the Germans did.
Marxist apologists point out that the gap between rich and poor in the industrial world has expanded in the past 30 years, but this is a total non-argument. Many rich people have established vast wealth, but it is not a zero-sum game. For instance, take 1,000 people, and the top 10 of them make $1 million, while the lowest end make $20,000. 10 years later the lowest end is making $40,000 while the highest end is making $5 million. The income gap has widened, but the lower end has risen nicely. The Republicans call it, “a rising tide that lifts all boats.” If the zero-sum argument made sense, then all the people who made $10,000 10 years ago would now owe $4,970,000 per person to the rich people. The fact is, when the rich got richer, it was their taxes that paid for the services of the low end. They used the extra money to create companies and jobs that helped increase jobs and low-end salaries. This exercise only assumes everybody stayed in the same economic class. It does not take into account a Bill Gates, who at one time was at the low end, or near it, when he dropped out of Harvard and entered the workforce. 10 years later he was one of the guys on the high end.
One area where Marx maintains some current relevance is the question of Democracy, liberty and equality. The first hint that Jeffersonian Democracy might not be for everyone was the French Revolution, whose battle cry was “fraternite, liberte, equalite.” It should have been, “Today France, tomorrow the world.” All of Voltaire’s aspirations went by the wayside by virtue of the guillotine and Napoleon’s armies. Today, despite bumps in the road, Democracy has taken hold all over the world. It is the greatest, most successful method of government ever devised.
It also is not a panacea. It has failed in many places. It has succeeded sometimes only by hook or crook, by virtue of coups, back alley dealings, propped-up governments, and rigged elections. Countries like Guatemala, Chile, Italy, Turkey and Greece are just the more obvious examples of places where Democracy flowers, but if the CIA had not manipulated the people in favor of it, it might have been a different story. Most of the places where the hand of the American government played a major role in creating “friendly” Democratic governments surely would have turned away from Communism eventually, but only after much misery.
The “big experiment” does not work perfectly and immediately wherever it is tried. Let me be perfectly clear, I see Democracy in the future everywhere. At one time, it might have seemed unlikely that South Carolina would be integrated and their elected officials would have among them members of the black race. It would have seemed at one time incongruous to imagine Nelson Mandela as President of a post-Apartheid South Africa. But visionaries saw these things. In 1986, I heard a white diplomat from South Africa address a group in Orange County, California. The questioners pressed him pretty hard about the Apartheid issue, which at the time was quite intractable. Blacks were in uproar, rioting and "necklacing" traitors in the streets. The idea of letting these people have run of the place was horrifying to the white power structure in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“You have to give us time,” the man said, and I realized he wanted to do the right thing. He was not a racist. “We are like America in the 1950s. The freedom demanded for the black population will come to South Africa, but it must happen incrementally.”
Based on his timetable, equality and true Democracy would have not come to that country until the mid-2000s. Four years later, in 1990, Nelson Mandela was President and Apartheid was in the dustbin of history.
When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, history seemed to speed up. Events that took generations to take place now occur, it seems, much faster. But still, there are places that are not ready for Democracy. Some day, there will be Democracy throughout the African Continent, the Third World, and even in Palestine. But it cannot just happen overnight.
It is not reasonable to expect the German and Japanese model of modern, industrial nations to be followed in all countries. Africa in particular is a tragic place, riven by AIDS and genocidal dictators. The irony is that the blacks of South Africa, whose plight under Apartheid drew so much attention, had it far better than almost all the blacks living under black governments on the continent. Somalians are some of the most physically beautiful people on the face of the Earth. They have suffered horrendously under a series of tribal warlords, with over 300,000 dying. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton both tried humanitarian missions to bring some kind of peace to this land in 1992-93, but it ended disastrously for the American soldiers and the starving people. When the Tutsi and Hutu tribes of Rwanda quarreled in 1994, it became all-out genocide. Over a million died by the sword. The Americans did nothing. The Somalia disaster was fresh in their minds and they figured the situation was almost beyond help.
Acknowledging that Democracy in its purest form is not the answer in the Third World, however, does not mean that Communism ever was or will be. Who but a lunatic would actually argue that Castro’s Cuba has benefited the people there? After Jimmy Carter was elected President in 1976, and Saigon had fallen to North Vietnam, the Communists became adventurists in the Middle East and, especially, Africa. The Reagan Administration, along with the simple disaster of Communism itself, ended the “adventure” by the 1980s. Communism was shown for what it was in Cambodia, when the Khmer Rouge took over.
The reason so much of the non-industrial Third World is a disaster is that progress and modernity outpace human ability. We have seen it in the American West. The tragedy of Native Indians was not just what happened when they went head-to-head with the whites, but that it was inevitable. If man could invent a time machine and transport an entire government of liberals, Indian activists, medical personnel and social workers to Gold Rush Era Washington, D.C., with a direct mandate to re-write history and see to it that white settlements of the West be done “peacefully” this time, my prediction would be that little would change except that more whites would die than actually did. Substantially more Indians would die, too. The problem might not have been resolved until the 20th Century.
Marx’s vision of social justice, if implemented in the Old West, might have resulted in genocide's to rival Eastern Europe. The first premise is that the U.S. was going to expand, populations were going to spread, and modern progress would occur. America-haters say that this Manifest Destiny is a scourge on our history, but it was a completely inexorable, unstoppable movement. Any government that would have attempted to put a break on it, to legislate against it, to imprison would-be settlers and the like, would never have survived the vote. Had the government attempted to stem the tide, a riot, a war perhaps to match the Civil War, would have broken out. There would have been no popular support among the people to support any military action by a U.S. Government to stop Westward Expansion.
The "time-travelers" would have set forth their rules of engagement. Many of the moderns would have been dispatched West to try and put a break on the actions of the whites when they met the Indians, to give them medical aid, to educate them, and be nice to them.
The question of whether white men had the right to take over the West may be an argument, but it is sophistry. There was no Indian Nation. Disparate tribes roamed the plains. They were often nomadic in nature. They just existed. It is a huge land, an enormous country. Incredible distances could be traveled without a sign of human life. The anti-America crowd pictures hordes of whites bearing down on enormous populated Indian citizenry. They put forth the proposition that industrialization, pollution and population have robbed us of our land. I beg them to get in a car like Jack Kerouac and roam the American West.
Take the drive on Interstate 10 between Los Angeles and Phoenix. It is 2004, the apex of the American Empire, the height of our military might, the Information Age, of environmental degradation, population explosion and modern technology. Once you get past the suburban sprawl of San Bernardino and Riverside, you will see some restaurants, gas stations, some windmills to generate electricity, some signs, some telephone poles, a town every so often, and a few rest stops. The resort town of Palm Springs will pass by to your right in the distance, but unless you are paying attention you may not notice. Beyond that, it is pretty much desert until Phoenix. Beyond that is more desert as far as the eye and the gas tank will take you, staying on 10, one of the most heavily traveled, major interstates in the country. In Santa Monica, where the 10 starts, a sign tells drivers they are entering the Christopher Columbus Trans-continental Highway!
The same thing can be said about the drive between San Diego and Las Vegas, Las Vegas and Reno, Reno and Salt Lake City, Lake Tahoe and Portland, Colorado and Iowa, and on and on. The American West today still contains vast quantities of untrammeled land, as pristine now as it was in Geronimo’s day. The concept that the white hordes descended like Mongols upon the peaceful Injuns is malarkey of the highest order.
Let us get back to our fictional time travelers, appointed by a Special U.N. Commission on Time Travel and the Reconstruction of History, headed by Bill Clinton. We now set forth on the journey West. A large group of Native American leaders, representing all the various tribes, are sent with the contingent. Time travel allows people to make the trip, but they do not have modern equipment or medicine. They have to make do with what is available in the 19th Century. To make a long story short, when they finally make it over the Rockies, most of the modern men are dead from disease, attrition and hardship. Tired and bedraggled, the survivors could not care less about diplomacy with whatever will meet them “on the other side,” but they still want to “do the right thing.”
The Indians they finally see do not understand any of their liberal nostrums, quickly deduce these quasi-Indians are heap bad medicine, and it is not too darn long before they break out the old bows and arrows. After that it is every man for himself. About the only thing Clinton would be able to do, in charge of this doomed operation, is send the Army out West in huge numbers so that the show of overwhelming force would simply mollify the Indians. Variations of the Little Big Horn and the Trail of Tears follow.
The plight of the Indians is similar to the plight of the Africans, and the Arabs after World War I. The “enemy” of these people is, in an odd way, modernity. In other words, the world changes. Progress takes place, and people who cannot keep up with it are not just left behind, but left behind to die. What a conundrum. Who would argue that roads, highways, electricity, hospitals, medicine, phones, air conditioning and a million other things, almost all invented by white males, is not a good thing? Would any one say that American Indians would be better off living in teepees than with modern appliances? The same question applies to Africans in the jungle and Arabs making their way on the shifting sands of the Sub-Sahara.
So how can the modern wonders of white invention be a bad thing for non-whites? The answer is complicated. Obviously, modern inventions usually are not bad. Medicine is never bad, is it? It is if sick people need it and armed thugs steal it. Modern methods of making and getting food to people is bad if it gets hijacked and stolen, or diverted to guerrillas, revolutionaries or army troops instead of to the people.
When things were simple, they did not know better. Before white inventions made their way into the Third World, people just got sick and died. Nobody much paid attention. It was considered quite natural, actually.
Then came the guns. The gun is one of the most schizophrenic of inventions. If guns had never been invented, would this have been a good or a bad thing? The gun debate is not part of the present issue of discussion, which is an attempt to deal with the forces of societal evolution as an offshoot of Marxist theory.
What modern life has done is to elevate those who have been able to take advantage of it, but it sheds light on those who do not. For centuries, people in what became known as the Third World existed. If they had a plague, many of them died. If they had a drought, people starved. Very few were educated, and ignorance was the norm. Injustice reigned supreme.
Then came the missionaries. The missionaries, if one really wanted to examine this, are the original racists. They came to these places to spread religion, medicine and food. On the face of it, this is a benevolent act, but this was affirmative action at work for the first time. Too “save” the natives by introducing them to Christ is to assume that the way they knew was not as good as the way of the white man. To assume they needed to be fed is to assume that the white man’s way, which is to eat nutritious foods, is better than to starve. To assume they needed medical care is to assume that the white man’s way, which is to prevent the spread of disease, is better than pestilence.
Obviously I am being facetious, but these intellectual exercises hopefully explain, or shed light, on the impossible-to-avoid cultural clash and backlash that occurred when whites and natives met and began to inter-act. It is the white man's entire fault. As somebody once said, no good deed goes unpunished.
So let us get back to Karl Marx, who probably would agree that the white man was at fault, too. His theories will never die completely as long as big American companies like Coca-Cola do not pay minimum wage to workers in a bottling plant in the U.S., instead paying $1.50 an hour for workers in Mexico. The end of Marx and the end of social inequality may be beyond our ability to deal with, on its own, using current methods. In Marx’s time, the exploited workers were white, but the downgraded whites of the 19th Century – the Irish, the Italians, the émigrés – rose up above their standing in the world. We have seen minorities in the 20th Century – blacks, Hispanics, and Orientals in the West - rise above their standing in the world. Hopefully, the next wave of change will be in the 21st Century, when we see the Third World rise above their current standing.
Certainly, the Third World has been a pawn in the global chess match for too long. Now that the U.S. is the world’s sole superpower, maybe the gates will open for them. When the Americans and Soviets were dueling it out for 45 years, we all cared less about food and working conditions in Africa and the Middle East than we did about arming the right guerrilla armies, fixing the right “elections,” or propping up the right dictator. The fact that this messy business was necessary does not help those who were left behind. Now, the challenge is to make a difference even in places where it is not in our so-called “national interest.”
In the Middle East, oil and the battle against terrorism make this a logical place to help elevate the living standards of the people. The obstacle there is radical Islam, which is where Christianity was 500 years ago. The Muslims have to evaluate their religion the way the Christians did during Reformation and the Renaissance, when they decided not to be a religion of violence and oppression, and instead to be one of love and spirituality. This is the role of modern Islam, and we have to help them. When this happens, we can help promote the kind of human conditions that the West enjoys.
Africa is a tougher nut to crack. It is a land of boundless natural resource, but the brutal truth is that events can take place there that do not really effect our way of life. When Africa was a pawn in the Soviet-U.S. chess match, we paid attention to it. Would the “Rumble in the Jungle,” the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman boxing match of 1974, have been held in Zaire if we were not in the middle of the Cold War at that time? I do not think so. Terrorists impede progress in the Middle East because it is in their interests to do so, just as warlords do the same in Africa.
Yasser Arafat wants Palestine to be poor and in shambles because if peace prevailed and they were allowed to modernize, the people would not “need” him any more. The African warlords want their people hungry and crazy. Out of that fatigue for life comes the soldiers who will fight their awful battles out of desperation. In the post-war Iraq of 2003, remnants of Saddam's regime, his Fedayeen and Baath Party loyalists, mixed with Hezbollah and Al Qaeda elements. Some of the terrorists operated in Iraq before the U.S. invasion. Others came over porous borders after it was over. They attacked the U.S., plus U.N. and Iraqi elements. They sabotaged infrastructure built by the U.S. to help the Iraqi people. But why?
Well, these terrorists might say they did it to get the "infidels" out of their country. They did it to remove the hated Americans from Iraq. But does this hold up to logic? No, it does not. The reason it does not it because the more they sabotage the U.S. re-building effort, the longer the U.S. will have to stay and keep re-building. If these terrorists wanted America and the U.N. out of Iraq, the best and fastest way to see that happen would be to lay down their arms, turn themselves in, and allow for the smooth, cooperative transition from American administration to Iraqi independence. If, after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, terrorists elements had sabotaged the re-building of Kuwait, the U.S. would have had to stay there for years to root them out and repair the damage from the war. The terrorists did not cross the Kuwaiti border, and in short order the U.S. left Kuwait with the exception of a small detachment for security. This is an example of the "new kind of empire" that America represents. This empire is not the kind that ruled countries, taking them by force, brutally suppressing the people, and creating totalitarian regimes. This is the American Empire. It is an empire of ideas. In Kuwait we freed a country, made it safe to do business, an engendered the thanks of grateful people.
That is what we have done in Iraq, too, but the terrorists hate our way of life; our success and our freedom. They hate the possibility that it will spread throughout the Middle East the way it spread through the rest of the world. They sabotaged the post-war effort in Iraq because they did not want to see Iraq become another example of American success. They are afraid the new American Empire because it is more dangerous to their antiquated philosophies than the old empires. The old empires were easy to hate, like prison guards. This new empire is an empire of ideas, the most powerful in the history of the world. These ideas represent their death knell.
The terrorists of the 21st Century Middle East have in much in common with the Communists of the 20th Century. They are the losers of history. Marxist atheist dogma has been replaced by Wahhabi fundamentalism. Both concepts are based on a form of utopia, whether it be a "workers' paradise" or a "virgin's paradise." These kinds of anti-social "revolutions" will always be around as long as there is evil and ignorance. Stamping out evil and ignorance is a tall order.
The recent rantings of Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela of South Africa are the result of a similar kind of frustration. Both men have spent an inordinate amount of time criticizing the United States. Mandela called the U.S. an “atrocious” country. These kinds of remarks are the result of not being relevant any more. When their countrymen used them as symbols against white oppression, they were important players. Now that the issue of white oppression has been replaced by the day-to-day administration of government, they are not major factors. Even former President Jimmy Carter falls into this syndrome. His policies have been largely discredited, and now, in retirement, Carter knows he is not important, so he lashes out at George W. Bush. The increasingly less important international community feels fellowship, and awards meaningless Nobel Peace prizes to Carter, Arafat and other has-beens.
Marx felt that as humans evolve, they experience three phases of growth. The first phase was the “animal” phase, which consisted of the need to eat, work and procreate. Hunger and sex were pursued out of our selfish selves. Work was performed out of necessity.
Marx said that the Western society of his era had evolved into an alienated society, with man divided against himself. Exploitation and domination were the result of the new alienation. Marx lived in Europe, but in his era whites were divided by classes. The lower classes could identify with the minorities and Third World natives who were the “exploited class” of the 20th Century. I have attempted through example to address the “exploitation and domination” of natives by whites because I see relevance to the work of Marx. In an examination of 19th Century Europe, I find parallels among the "exploited workers" to the natives.
Marx felt that the lower classes of Europe would only find equality through Communism. Forgetting whether his model was followed closely enough or not, history tells us that they did not find equality through Communism. Rather, the natural evolution of people through social awareness and modern technology explains their rise better than any revolution. At one time, the Irish and the Italians were on the low rung of the barrel. They came to the U.S. and were members of the roiling class of have-nots that Marx felt would foment revolution. But they rose within a free market system.
This same evolution occurred in other countries, some more easily than others. Obviously the “rise” of Jews in Germany resulted in a clash with the worst possible consequences. All social experimentation and natural progression was put on hold by World War II, but a look at modern Europe and America indicates that the lower classes of Marx’s day did rise to the middle class. The lower classes of today are rising to the middle class.
This helps explain the popularity of conservatism in America. Marx saw a world in which the lower classes had nothing in common with the upper classes. He saw alienation and strove to make the people more alienated, so as to drive a wedge between classes. This is the oldest trick in the book. Terrorists in the Middle East and warlords in Africa use this method. The last thing these people want is for the dispossessed to feel kinship with the powerful. When this happens, the "leaders" lose power. Marx's ultimate destination was one class, but somebody would have to topple for this to occur. He never foresaw the ambition of people in a free society. In the U.S. today, the Democrats are losing an important part of their constituency precisely because the alienated class does not feel as alienated as they used to. Democrat efforts to divide the classes, instead of bringing them together, result in occasional short-term gains. In the U.S., too many of the so-called "lower classes" rise above their circumstances for this method to have long-lasting success.
People look at the rich, with their tax shelters and their protectors within the political hierarchy, and do not feel disdain for them anymore. Instead, they desire to be like them. The more ambitious among them think they have a shot at it. Look at the Silicon Valley, for instance, or the dot-com revolution. Much of the wealth of the go-go ‘90s has been lost, but the spirit of entrepreneurialism that existed then still exists today. The black-Jewish 20-something with computer skills does not look at the corporate elite with envy. He looks at them as a model. The Indian immigrant who comes to America or Europe with the ability to work on microchips does not associate himself with Gandhi’s underclass. He is thinking about stock-options. The dot-coms did not explode, but the same conditions that allowed them to happen are just waiting to bubble to the surface, better than ever the next time. Mistakes of the past are a learning experience for all.
One area that Marx does not readily address is health care, a major bone of contention in the modern era. Modern medicine is, in some ways, a victim of its own success. The simple explanation is that people get sick and want the latest cure. Medical breakthroughs have been so amazing that there are seemingly cures for everything. Of course, it all costs money. In the past, folks got sick and there were no cures for a lot of diseases. People just accepted that this was the way it was and that was that. Now people get sick with diseases that would have killed them in the past, but we have cures now. They consider it their right to have those cures. Common empathy for the human condition directs us to provide those cures to everybody, regardless of the cost. Hillary Clinton said everybody should pay, and believe it or not, I would not really have a problem with that if I thought it would have worked. The problem is that health care and medical cures do not necessarily go hand in hand. The other problem is a consideration of the environment that produces great medical breakthroughs.
Why is the best medicine found in the U.S., and after the U.S., in other industrial, capitalist countries? Because of incentives. Great doctors and scientists want to make money just like everybody else. They are inclined to go the extra mile to discover and make their breakthroughs not because of pure altruism or government regulations, but because of a desire to make the most for themselves. All the other benefits - fame and honor - go along with it.
Marx envisioned a “workers paradise” of happy employees all striving for the common good. He seems to have lost sight of the human desire for excellence. The workers of the world he helped create just slugged along, putting in their hours and producing below-standard products. If what they made was great they were not rewarded, and if what they made was terrible, they were not punished. How any educated man (and Marx was) could have been so blind to man’s nature is beyond me.
The same philosophy has played itself out in medicine. The social engineers cannot get past the idea that excellence comes at a price. A great, custom-made automobile costs more than an ordinary assembly-line job. Health care is now considered a right (whereas driving a car is not). Everybody wants the Bentleys and Shelby Mustang equivalents of medicine.
Providing it for everyone by virtue of national care is not deliverable. Compare it with the idea of a national auto-provider who provides each U.S. citizen with a car from the government when they turn 18. The auto-provider plan is even more viable, in some respects. Driving does not have the variables of medical need. Everybody just “needs” a car to get them around. If everybody gets a Ford Taurus, for instance, they have what they need. Various medical conditions are such that some people “need” the “Shelby Mustang” of medicine, i.e., exclusive cancer treatments, high-end AIDS “cocktails,” rare liver transplants, etc. Others can get by with a clunker (yearly check-ups).
Marx has an answer for the capitalists who exploit the workers. He said they are “addicted” to money, compelled to consume or accumulate property, and that the more one gets, the greater the addiction becomes. As Professor Dalton states, Marx felt that this kind of behavior was as “far removed from our natural needs and state of good health as obesity or bulimia.”
One can see a certain nobility to Marx’s claims. The man who works hard and accomplishes greatness, but does so only to share it with others, is a man of saintly qualities. He might be viewed as a fool or a “chump,” but he is a man of greatness. Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden might be such a man. Wooden is the greatest college coach of all time, but he never got rich doing what he did. His salary was paltry by today’s standards. When he discovered in his early days that a promised retirement fund was going to a student organization, and not to him, he chose not to leave out of a sense of commitment. He never cashed in on the shoe contracts and outside endorsement deals of his successors. He lives to this day by modest means. He could have gone to the NBA and made a great deal of money, but chose not to. His accomplishments were “shared” by millions who cheered his teams and benefited from his example. He is the basketball equivalent of a man who discovers the cure for a rare disease, but chooses not to gain monetarily for his work.
But Coach Wooden is rare, and Marx should have understood that it is not in the human nature for men to be like him. That is why he Wooden is so revered. If all were like Wooden, Wooden would not stand out. Even Wooden himself has a proletariat outlook on life, as evidenced by the fact that, when I interviewed him, he said the “person of the century” was, in his view, Mother Theresa.
Now let us examine this. Mother Theresa was a woman of extraordinary greatness, who forsake all things of worldly value to spend a lifetime comforting the sick in the slums of Calcutta, India. But what is her contribution vs. that of, say, scientists who discovered fabulous drugs that cured innumerable diseases? They did so working in a capitalist-friendly environment in which their accomplishments were rewarded with raises in salary, stock options, and awards of merit that gave them fame and, in turn, more fortune. Who did more for Mankind? Mother Theresa bathing the feet a dying man, or a white-shirted country club doctor in Connecticut or San Francisco or England who made a medicine that saved that man from dying long before he met his final days in the tender hands of Mother Teresa?
There will always be sick people. The human condition mandates sickness and death, and in the end, beautiful souls like Mother Theresa provide comfort and faith that is more valuable than money. The comparison of the country club doctor and Mother Theresa is an uncomfortable one. It reeks of country club snobbishness.
The only problem, of course, is that it is on point. The mere fact that people like John Wooden and Mother Theresa are so revered therefore refutes the Marxist premise, which bases his entire society on reliance of most people to be as altruistic in nature as these two people were.
Marx saw the phases of development as analogous to childhood and adolescence. He compared the “alienation phase” to the teenage years, when life “gets worse before it becomes better,” according to Professor Dalton. This is an interesting point, actually, and unlike much of Marx’s theories, not really something that can be disproved. It requires a look at the future that is impossible to see. That is, of course, unless we say that we are the future. Marx thought society would grow out of its addictions, rebellions and alienation's, like the adolescent does, and mature into a healthy “adult.” While the world has not reached its maturity, the question is, What is our maturity? Whatever we are, we have come a long way from the Dickensian, colonized, racist world of Marx’s day. We are past institutionalized slavery, the Holocaust, world war, and the Jim Crow South. We have matured a helluva lot. We are not what Karl Marx thought a mature world would look like.
Frank Sinatra once said of America, “We’re not perfect, but we spend a lot of time trying to fix our mistakes.” The United States still plays power games, and exploitation in one form or another still takes place, as Professor Dalton notes. It is an ongoing experiment, this system of ours. Ol’ Blue Eyes was right, though. We do spend a lot of time examining our actions to try and make it better.
Marx had one thing that he could not get around. That was the basic nature of capitalism as a necessary tool. He could not adequately explain it away or give us the model for a better system. He ended up saying that it was a “necessary and desirable” stage in our evolution to Communism. He said it would promote our third and “final state” of evolution. One wonders what Marx would have made of Lenin’s statement that, “The West will sell us the rope we will use to hang them,” which turned out to be as utterly wrong as Nikita Kruschev’s shoe-pounding, “We will bury you.”
Marx felt that sharing and cooperation were not compatible with the capitalist system. He should have spent some time in any small town in mid-America, especially during a time of crisis like a flood or a tornado. If you want to see “sharing and cooperation,” check out America. We wrote the book on sharing and cooperation. Other countries do not, generally, share and cooperate like Americans. Foreigners were utterly amazed at the way this nation came together after 9/11. In many villages far and wide throughout the world, disasters lead to hoarding, Mafia vendettas, arguments over ancient feuds, tribal in fighting, and all the nit-picking things that did not happen after 9/11. They do not happen in thousands of other lesser disasters and semi-disasters that require people to come together across the Fruited Plain.
Marx addressed the issue of prostitution as a perfect metaphor for capitalist society. He said we view “others” as sex objects rather than loved ones. Both males and females are victims of prostitution because the relationship is based on domination, which deforms both parties. This prevents healthy relationships from forming. Even here Marx is off the mark. Many forms of prostitution do look like what he describes, but not all. Modern prostitution is very often a matter of negotiation not any different from any other business transaction. Prostitutes and strippers succeed or fail based on the merits, just like anybody else in business. A beautiful woman who possesses extraordinary skills is in high demand, and can charge huge sums of money. She is able to define the rules, and is not “dominated.”
Marx saw workers as prostitutes, exploited by the employer’s “compulsive quest for increasing profit.” He said the worker was not the only victim. The alienated employer was a victim of his own compulsions, too. With all due respect, Marx’s views must be examined in relation to the times he lived in. Prostitutes in mid-19th Century London were crabby, low-class whores who made their living on the dangerous, fog-shrouded streets, in a desultory back-and-forth with the skulking johns who sought them out. This condition does not vary all that much from the factory conditions of the era.
Today, prostitutes are often gorgeous “escorts,” many of them semi-famous porn stars who exploit their own stature as fantasy women. They are dressed up as glamorous, socially acceptable trophy girls who provide the kind of entertainment that rich bigwigs consider their just due for their accomplishments.
This picture is not an attempt to belittle the conditions of drug-addled street hookers plying their wares in the back alleys of shady big cities, or the bargirls of Manilla and Hong Kong. It is not an attempt to glamorize the human slave trade of the former East Bloc. Prostitution is still associated with drugs and organized crime. But the factory worker and the prostitute in a capitalist society have something in common that Marx did not account for. The most skilled among them, the most entrepreneurial, the most ambitious, have a way out. In fact, they can thrive.
Marx asserted that people were perceived solely by their place on the economic ladder. But the high regard society accorded to John Wooden and even Mother Theresa flies in the face of this concept.
The third phase of Marx’s world is one of communal self-consciousness. His ideas are not entirely separate from Socrates and Plato. He hoped that professional "do-gooders," for lack of a better term could replace corruption. The Hindu’s esteemed self-conscious actualization. This involves replacing dominating sex with love; making the home self-sufficient; and making work creative and self-esteeming. Need I say it? This sounds like the "family values" plank of the Republican National Convention.
At the heart of Marxism is work. He wanted to elevate work from boredom and tedium, to something joyous. He wanted this to occur, but did not seem to offer a way of increasing the value of the workers’ output. For decades, Communism billed itself as a society that provided a free education to all its citizens, who therefore were more valued workers because of it. Eventually, this was determined to be a lie. The most promising youth were chosen for advanced training, in sports, the sciences, or other careers. The average worker just kept on working in menial jobs without advantage of education or training. They never became more beneficial to the state-employer.
I can recall living in Europe and discovering this first hand. All my life, I had been told that the American education system was inferior to the European model. Europeans I met were highly educated, spoke several languages, and seemed superior to average Americans. Then I lived in Germany. What I discovered was that the average German did not speak several languages. They had less education than the average American. The myth of European educational superiority was a combination of propaganda and the fact that their “ambassadors” were those Europeans who could afford to travel, and therefore were cosmopolitan. By the same token, I came to realize that the Americans one meets traveling in Europe are also more likely to be bi-lingual, better-educated, and more cosmopolitan that their compatriots.
It “is just in his work upon the objective world that man really proves himself as a species-being,” said Marx. “This production is his active species life. By means of its nature, it appears as his work and his reality.” Marx wants each of us to see our own reflections in our work.
“Objectification” in Marx-speak means the presence of a person’s activity in the objective world; to see ourselves reflected in our environment. It is the opposite of individuality. Private property must be abolished because it promotes “exclusive enjoyment.”
“In a higher phase of Communist society," he wrote, "after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-round development of the individual, and all the springs of cooperative wealth flow more abundantly – only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banner. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!”
Marx felt that economic forces determined ideology. If this were true, then George Bush’s liberation of Iraq would have been doomed to failure. In fact, if this were true, it would illustrate only a vicious cycle. No societies that are both poor and totalitarian can become free with Communism. Of course, all totalitarian societies are poor. Under Marxist theory, Iraq cannot become Democratic before they become economically prosperous. The Bush plan relied on Iraqis’ desiring the simple freedom that all men want.
“Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property,” Marx wrote in “The Communist Manifesto”. “…bourgeois notions of freedom, culture, law” are, in his view, ideological rationalizations of economic interests, which he says are “false.” All justifications for the status quo of the Western economic and social systems, said Marx, are meant only to mask dominance and exploitation. Marx further said that morality, religion and metaphysics were all just part of a larger ideology, all tied together, all designed to pervert reality.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism